Op-ed: Feeling Politically Involved Even Though I Cannot Vote

Mila Nguyen

This year everyone has been saying that the election is going to be the most important one yet. I have never considered myself to be interested in politics because to be honest I do not know much. My parents have never been open about politics besides who they support so I was never around political talk. However, this election has been very special for me because I have made it a point to educate myself so that I understand what is going to happen to our country. Unfortunately, I cannot vote this year because I am still 17. I turn 18 in January, so I have no voice in this year’s election.

It would have been very meaningful for me to have been able to participate in this year’s election specifically. 2020 has been such a difficult year and the last four years have not been so great either. There are so many changes that need to be made now to bring order back in the world and that starts with the leadership in this country. Having no voice has been difficult to swallow. I have seen my friends get to make an impact on the election while I am not eligible. It stings even more when I see people who are eligible to vote not exercise their vote. The election results will affect everyone in the country, so it is difficult to feel so powerless.

I remember during the 2016 election I was in D.C. with my grade on the 8th grade trip. It was a very cool experience to be in D.C. during such an important time. We had an election party the night before with trivia, food, and games, but we finished watching the election results in our own rooms. We obviously had no voice in the election, but I remember waking up the next morning and coming out to breakfast to find many people very emotional about the election results. At the time I never realized the impact of the election because I was not educated.

This year is completely different. I am anxiously watching the election with my family and I understand why there will strong emotions whatever the result will be. I hope that everyone will show one another compassion. My family and I have very different political opinions and have had many discussions to talk about our own opinions understanding that we will probably not convince someone to change their mind.  I urge people to show compassion to one another especially during this time when we are all so isolated. No matter what the outcome of the election will be, we need to be respectful to one another because everyone has different ways of processing information.

This election is like no other and I hope that other people who were not eligible to vote in this year’s election, like myself, will to use their voices in any way they can and to continue to educate themselves.